We are rather like whirlpools in the river of life….[but]..we’d rather not think of our lives in this way, however. We don’t want to see ourselves as simply a temporary formation, a whirlpool in the river of life. The fact is, we take form for a while, then when conditions are appropriate, we fade out.
However, we want to think that this little whirlpool that we are isn’t part of the stream. We want to see ourselves as permanent and stable. Our whole energy goes into trying to protect our supposed separateness. To protect the separateness, we set up artificial, fixed boundaries; as a consequence, we accumulate excess baggage, stuff that slips into our whirlpool and can’t flow out again. So this clogs up our whirlpool and the process gets messy. The stream needs to flow naturally and freely… We serve other whirlpools best if the water that enters ours is free to rush through and move on easily and quickly to whatever else needs to be stirred. The energy of life seeks rapid transformation. If we can see life this way and not cling to anything, life simply comes and goes.
Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Living Zen.